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Kevin Casas-Zamora appointed to second, 5-year term as International IDEA’s Secretary-General

December 01, 2023
Kevin Casas-Zamora has led a remarkable expansion of International IDEA’s work and global presence.

STOCKHOLM – Kevin Casas-Zamora has been reappointed to a new, five-year term as Secretary-General of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), the only intergovernmental organization with the sole mandate to support and advance democracy worldwide.

The Costa Rica-born Dr Casas-Zamora, 55, was first appointed in 2019 to head the 35-Member States organization. He has led a remarkable expansion of International IDEA’s work and global presence, expanding its membership base and activities, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe.  

‘My warmest congratulations to Dr Casas-Zamora on being entrusted with continuing his role as Secretary-General of International IDEA’, said Carl Hartzell, Deputy Director-General, Department for Multilateral Partnerships, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

‘Under his leadership, International IDEA has continued to develop as an intergovernmental organization and platform for dialogue around democracy issues, at a time when democracy is on decline globally. International IDEA continues to be a highly respected player on the global stage in advancing democracy, including by strengthening democratic political institutions and processes.’

His reappointment was unanimously confirmed at a meeting of International IDEA Member States in Stockholm on Friday, 1 December 2023.

Emphasizing the need for accurate, nuanced data and analysis on democracy, Dr Casas-Zamora also oversaw the expansion of the Global State of Democracy initiative to become a trusted, go-to report for policymakers around the world. The Institute also enhanced its role as a powerful advocate for democracy, leading calls to protect rights during the Covid-19 pandemic and supporting the first two global Summits for Democracy in 2021 and 2023.

Under his leadership, International IDEA welcomed new Member States, including France, which joined in December 2023; as well as the United States, which joined as an Observer in 2022.

‘I am humbled by the unanimous support of the 35 Member States of International IDEA and their conviction that the Institute is on a path towards greater relevance and impact in its mission to advance democracy globally, a mission that I, too, passionately believe in,’ said Dr Casas-Zamora, a former Vice President of Costa Rica.

The Stockholm-based organization has 20 offices and more than 300 staff working across the world, from Nepal to Nigeria and Peru. Last year, the Institute opened an office in Washington DC, adding to its regional bureaus in Addis Ababa, Brussels, Canberra and Panama City. It also plans to open an office in Ukraine in 2024.

Founded in 1995, International IDEA’s work focuses on supporting electoral processes, constitution-building, democracy assessment, and political participation and representation. In addition, Dr Casas-Zamora has overseen the introduction of new programmes on the impacts of climate change and digitalization on democracy.

Dr Casas-Zamora is also a Senior Fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington DC-based policy research center. Prior to joining International IDEA, he had a distinguished career as an academic, politician and leader within international organizations. He was Costa Rica’s Second Vice President and Minister of National Planning; Secretary for Political Affairs at the Organization of American States; Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution; and National Coordinator of the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report.

Available for text and video interviews: 

Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary-General, International IDEA, is available for interview to discuss both his reappointment at International IDEA and the state of democracy in Latin America.

Please contact Alistair Scrutton, Head of Communications and Knowledge Management, Internattional IDEA, at; Tel. +46 707 21 10 98.


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Press contact

Alistair Scrutton
Head of Communications and Knowledge Management
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